The Premier League’s marquee match-up of the weekend between Chelsea and Arsenal marks Gunners coach Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game in charge. The Frenchman has presided over the North London club’s fortunes for the last 18 years, winning three EPL titles and four FA Cups, including two domestic doubles in 1998 and 2002. He has also helped the club achieve financial stability during an era when other big English clubs have been running sizable deficits.
"At first, we didn't really know who Arsene Wenger was," said former England and Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour, recalling Wenger’s appointment in September 1996. "But we trusted (vice-chairman) David Dein at the time, him saying Arsene Wenger was going to push the club forward. And certainly after six weeks or so you could tell that he was a top-class manager. When Arsene Wenger first turned up, he took me to another level. His training methods were always great, he was on that pitch every single day, which is so important as a coach. He had lots and lots of brains about football and what he wanted to achieve."
Over the years, Wenger built a squad capable of fighting for the title every season, signing some big names along the way, including, Nicolas Anelka, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit and, of course, Thierry Henry, who would become the Gunners all-time leading scorer. "[Wenger] changed the philosophy of the club," NY Red Bulls striker Henry said. "He won stuff as soon as he arrived and therefore he earned the trust of the fans and the respect of everyone."